That old proverb — if you want something to be done well, do it yourself, is perfect for broadband measurements. For quite a while now FCC used third parties in “measuring” the broadband. And while practically any geek that lives outside the Verizon’s FIOS fiberoptic heaven can tell you on the spot “US broadband sucks, compared to other countries” official position has long been that of wishful thinking and denial.
“Everything is great, availability is super, prices are fantastic” — what else would you expect to hear from groups that are connected to the very providers, who are being governed by the FCC? Improving infrastructure costs real money, and stock market these days does not tolerate any expenditures that don’t give shareholders immediate return. Just look back at the market reaction to the Verizon’s decision to invest heaps of money in laying fiberoptic to the end user’s premises.
Thanks to such thinking AT&T decided to stay with the copper (“good enough for now”) and options for most citizens are quite limited.
So, to avoid extra regulation reports would count whole counties as ones with “available broadband” when there’s at least one potentially serviceable spot. Speed of the connection declared to be “broadband” are abysmal — 750kbps. And those who live in unserviced areas aren’t counted at all. This madness was sprinkled with “we can’t really tell you exact data on availability and speed because competitors would steal our customers” seasoning and served over and over. Sorry provider, but if your speed sucks and half the households can’t even get service, you do deserve to get a competitor that maybe will serve them better.
I’m glad the FCC decided to give people means to actually report what’s going on with their broadband. Now they can see the truth, on where the internet connections develop (areas where multiple providers compete) or languish (rural broadband, monopoly locked-down to one provider, or two — one cable, one telco). And maybe, just maybe, they will do something to add more competition to the mix.
Yes, current investors of the ISPs will be unhappy. But no, to help people get better jobs, more services, and more variety, it is necessary.